students at the ski mountainPhoto: A student group at Whiteface Mountain. 

Each Winter Term, our students and staff participate in a long-held and beloved tradition: Whiteface Days. Every Tuesday for five weeks our community spends half of the day honing their skills or trying skiing or snowboarding for the first time at our storied hometown mountain, which played host to downhill skiing events during the 1980 Winter Olympics and boasts the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies. Our first of five sessions was a great success, as our students challenged themselves on the mountain’s many trails of varying levels alongside experienced instructors as well as NCS faculty and staff. Every year we look forward to participating in this special facet of our Outdoor Program, which provides yet another way to take advantage of our unique mountain home here in the Adirondacks. Keep your fingers crossed for more powder days on the horizon!

ACADEMICS

students write in JapaneseJapanese calligraphyTop: River and Wyatt write in Japanese. Middle: Japanese class students participate in Kakizome. Bottom: Writing in Japanese. 

Countries around the world celebrate the New Year with a wide variety of traditions, and each Winter Term the students in our Japanese class take part in one such tradition—Kakizome. Kakizome is a Japanese practice that centers around writing the first calligraphy of the year, putting to paper one’s hopes for the months ahead. Each student used special paper, ink, and a calligraphy brush to write Japanese words that reflected their wishes. The beautiful projects were then displayed on the wall outside their classroom, reminding the students and passersby of the positive things they hope to see in their immediate futures. 

an MLK Day lessonan MLK Day presentationstudents read to residents at a retirement homean MLK Day program at a museum Top: 8th-grade students participate in a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day activity. Middle 1: 7th-grade students learn about Henrietta Lacks. Middle 2: Students read to residents at a retirement community. Bottom: Students attend a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day special event at ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. 

While our Japanese class focused on what they hope to see take place in their own lives, our larger school community thought in broader terms about history and their impact on the world during Monday morning’s special Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day programming. Our Upper School students took part in different programming by grade, with our 7th- and 8th-graders participating in activities that had them thinking critically about important moments in history including Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, the legacy of Henrietta Lacks, and the famous NASA mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Our 9th graders embodied Coretta Scott King’s goal to connect the day to service by visiting the nearby Keene Valley Neighborhood House assisted living center, where they read books to and played games with the senior citizens who live there. 

Meanwhile, our Lower School students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades traveled across Lake Champlain to Burlington, Vermont, where they attended the ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2024 Celebration. The event featured speakers, installations, art activities, and a dance performance. Students were also given the opportunity to engage with different “time capsules” coordinated by Clemmons Family Farm, which highlighted several Civil Rights milestones.

ARTS

a student selects pieces of glass a student makes glass art Top: Alina selects glass for her art project. Middle: An in-progress glass project. Bottom: Katie and Charlie measure a piece of glass. 

This week students in our Studio Art classes began working with a new medium—glass! Each student selected different sheets of colored glass for their projects, brainstormed their abstract and figurative designs, and began cutting and gluing together their pieces of glass. Once the cut pieces are glued together they will be fired in the kiln, which fuses the individual elements into one cohesive piece that can then be used as a window decoration, spoon rest, coaster, or decorative centerpiece.

making art on MLK Day coloring in a quote sheet students with an MLK Day collaborative art pieceTop: Emily, Winnie, and Higgs paint during a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day activity. Middle: Keira colors in a quote sheet during a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day activity. Bottom: 8th-grade students assemble their collaborative drawing sheets on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Our special morning of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day programming provided the opportunity not just for thoughtful conversation and community engagement, but also for collaboration and creativity. Throughout the morning our students participated in individual and group art projects that allowed them to beautifully illustrate different aspects of Dr. King’s vision for the world. Their colorful drawings, illustrated quotes, and group mural will be displayed around different campus spaces, and serve as reminders of the positive impact we can all have on the world around us. 

OUTDOORS

a ski groupskiinga ski lessonsnowboardinglooking at a ski mountain mapTop: A ski group at Whiteface Mountain. Middle 1: Skiing at Whiteface Mountain. Middle 2: Beginner skiers in a ski lesson at Whiteface Mountain. Middle 3: Snowboarding at Whiteface Mountain. Bottom: Looking at the Whiteface Mountain trail map. 

Whiteface Days are unquestionably one of the most memorable aspects of the North Country School Outdoor Program. The special mornings during which we visit our local ski mountain offer students the opportunity to practice and build upon their skiing and snowboarding skills while enjoying the spectacular, mountainous beauty that surrounds us every day. This week we began this beloved Winter Term program and, as always, we were delighted to see the smiles on our students’ faces as they participated in beginner lessons, returned to familiar trails, and explored new terrain alongside their friends. 

FARM AND GARDEN

taking notes on horsesa student make horse observationsseedlingsstudents look at eggs in the incubatorTop: Myles and Oliver observe the horses. Middle 1: Orrin answers questions about Brownie the horse. Middle 2: Ivy answers questions about Tucker the horse. Middle 3: Seedlings growing in the Teaching and Learning Kitchen. Bottom: Elizabeth, Lilly, and Evalyn look at the eggs in the incubator.

At North Country School our students engage with our farm during classes, out-times, and community work. This week our Equine Science elective students participated in their practical exercise, during which they were asked to recall and put into practice the skills they’ve been learning about horses throughout the Winter Term. Each student visited a different horse in the barnyard, where they took notes and answered questions about that animal’s identifying colors and markings. They also outlined how they would take a horse’s TPR, or  “temperature, pulse, and respiration rate,” and showed their teacher—Barn Manager Erica—the steps they would go through to take those vital signs. Students also described what they would expect a “normal” horse’s TPR to read, and identified the different bones, muscles, and parts of a horse’s body. 

Meanwhile, afternoon activities and morning jobs allowed students to engage with and help care for our always-growing farm. One out-time group seeded microgreens in the Teaching and Learning Kitchen (TLK), and the tiny new spicy mustard, amaranth, and pea shoot seedlings will be added to our salad bar offerings in the upcoming weeks. The students on our TLK morning job have not only been helping to water these baby plants, they have also been checking on the eggs developing in the incubator that we hope will hatch into new baby chicks in a little over a week.